January 31, 2023

Job Posting: World Wildlife Fund

WWF's Office of Ombudsperson is seeking a Head of Operations and Case Management. Reporting to the global conservation network's inaugural Ombuds, Gina Barbieri, the position will develop the administrative side of the office and represent the office in the absence of the Ombuds. Currently, it is envisaged that the Office will be decentralized with a core team of administrative and technical experts permanently recruited. Over time, a network of consultants reporting to the Office will be developed to help respond to complaints across the globe. A location for the hybrid job is negotiable.

Pomona College Names Next Ombuds

Gecole Harley has been selected the next Ombudsperson for the small, liberal arts college in Claremont, California. Harley is an experienced Ombuds and will reestablish an office that has been closed since Pomona's first Ombuds, Conchita Serri, retired in January 2021. In the part-time position, Harley will serve faculty, staff, and students following IOA standards, and report to the College President.

Positive Review for Ombuds for Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

In August 2019, Marcus Stergio, was appointed the first agency-wide Ombudsman for OFCCP—an ADR program for Federal contractors. Now that the OFCCP Ombuds program is three years old, the legal publishing service of JD Supra reviewed the progress. The review confirms that the Ombuds program is informal, independent, neutral, and confidential. JD Supra also notes that the Ombuds has handled a wide range of matters. (JD Supra.)

January 30, 2023

Providence Swedish Names First Ombuds

Steven Goodstein has been selected as the first Ombuds for Providence Swedish, the large health system serving greater Puget Sound and Western Washington state. In this new role, Goodstein will serve as a designated neutral conflict resolution professional providing informal assistance to patients on a variety of issues and concerns while following IOA standards. It promises to be a big job: last year Providence Swedish counted 1.2 million unique patients. 

Francis Noonan: Former Ombuds at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Francis Noonan, who served as WPI's Ombudsperson for a decade, passed on January 23, 2023, at the age of 81. Noonan was a member of the faculty at Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 1978 to 2008. In about 1998, he accepted the role as Ombuds and Special Assistant to the President. Funeral services will be held on April 1 in Chatham, MA. (Cape Cod Times.)

Charles T. Snowdon: Former Ombuds at University of Wisconsin–Madison

On January 8, 2023, Charles "Chuck" Snowdon passed away at the age of 81. A distinguished primatologist, Snowdon and his laboratory pioneered a series of non-invasive methods for use in studying a species of endangered primates, methods which continue to be applied. After he retired in 2012, he continued to serve the university as a member of the Ombuds Team through at least 2017. (UW News.)

January 27, 2023

Loyola Marymount University Selects Next Ombuds

The private university in Los Angeles, California, has reassigned its Ombuds duties to Ariane White, Director of LUM's Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center Alliance. Previously, the Ombuds role was held by Emelyn dela Peña, VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In both of her capacities White reports to dela Peña. As the Ombuds, White will serve all university employees.

Journal of IOA Article Reflects on COVID's Impact

The Journal of the International Ombuds Association has published its first article of 2023. Fred Wright, Workplace Conciliator (Organizational Ombuds) in the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning for Victoria, Australia, recaps his presentation at the 2022 IOA conference. The article is titled: "Reimagining Ombudsing. An Operational Reflection on How the Pandemic has Impacted the Work of Ombuds."

January 26, 2023

Job Posting: Office of Personnel Management

The independent federal agency that manages the civilian services is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The full-time position is based in Washington, DC, and is eligible for some telework. Travel may be required occasionally. Surprisingly, there is no public information about the personnel of this important government Ombuds program.

January 25, 2023

Job Posting: University Canada West

The private, for-profit university in Vancouver, BC, has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The full-time position will report to the president and primarily serve the student body of 11,000. The duties are generally consistent with the practice of Ombuds working in Canadian higher education. 

Job Posting: Springfield College

The private college in Western Massachusetts is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The part-time position will establish a program to serve about 5,000 faculty, staff, and students, following IOA standards. As currently defined, the Ombuds will be "reporting to the Director of Human Resources with oversight by the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees." There is no public information about the motivations for creating an Ombuds position.

January 23, 2023

Anchorage Mayor Accused of Tracking Ombuds Visitors on Security Cameras

Alaska's largest municipality established a Classical Ombudsman in 1977. The Municipal Ombuds reports to the Assembly and is empowered to investigate municipal agencies and recommend changes. The Ombuds office is located in city-owned building that also houses the Mayor, Assembly, and several other administrative departments. In a memo to the city assembly members last week, the Municipal Ombudsman Darrel Hess accused Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson of "downloading copies of City Hall surveillance videos to see who is accessing the Ombudsman's Office." 

University of Michigan⁠—Ann Arbor Selects Faculty Ombuds

Earlier this month, Stephanie D. Preston became the Faculty Ombuds at Michigan. She follows Robert Ortega and is expected to serve three years in the half-time position. In addition to serving 7,700 faculty members in Ann Arbor, Preston with liaise with other Ombuds within the University of Michigan system.

Ombuds University of Western Ontario Finds Disenrolled Students Were Treated Fairly

In a report to UWO's senate, University Ombudsperson Jennifer Meister said that 38 students contacted her office after they failed to comply with the COVID vaccine policy. “A few students ignored the vaccine status emails until March, when they were withdrawn by the university,” her report reads. “These students and their families were very upset; however they had been treated fairly by the university.” (London Free Press.)

January 20, 2023

Job Posting: University of Montréal

Université de Montréal, the French-language public research university in Quebec, hiring a full-time Deputy Ombudsman. The position reports to the University Ombuds, Caroline Roy, and will fill a position held by Marianne Leblond for the past two years. The office serves all members of the university, including a student body of 47,000. The intended start date is March 1, 2023.

International Criminal Court Names First Ombuds

ICC, the intergovernmental organization and international tribunal in The Hague, has selected its first Ombudsperson. The new incumbent will develop an Ombuds program for elected officials (Judges, Prosecutors, and Registrars), staff members, and non-staff personnel.

January 19, 2023

Job Posting: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The multilateral developmental investment bank based in London has issued a request for proposals for its next Ombudsman. The search will fill a position held by Deniz Ogretir since April 2018. The EBRD Ombuds serves over 3,500 employees at three dozen international sites. The appointment is for an initial term of three years and may be renewed for an additional two years. The Ombuds should be available for up to 12 days per month, either virtually or at the Bank’s Headquarters in London starting March 2023.

The Ombuds Institute Offers New Training: Case Studies

The Ombuds Institute, a training and consulting company created by Teresa Ralicki, CO-OP, has unveiled a new product: the Ombuds Case Study Club. This unique training tool will provide the opportunity to observe an expert Ombuds work with a visitor from beginning to end. Every two months, members will get access to a new recording and related materials, and then join a facilitated discussion group to debrief, process, and analyze the tools used by the Ombuds.

January 17, 2023

Job Posting: Harvard University

The private research university in Massachusetts is hiring an Ombuds I. The full-time position will join an office headed by Ombuds and Director, Melissa Brodrick. The position works with stakeholders at Harvard Medical School in Boston, one of the Ombuds Office's two locations. Two days in the office per week is currently required with some flexibility possible.

Colorado's Chief Justice Says Reforms to Include Ombuds

In an address to the state legislature, Chief Justice Brian Boatright of the Colorado Supreme Court outlined three priorities to reform the state's judicial discipline system. (Calls for changes in the judicial branch have been prompted by conflict between the Colorado Commission on Judicial Disclosure and the Colorado Supreme Court arising out of widespread allegations of judicial misconduct.) An Organizational Ombuds program was the first goal he identified.

Boise State University Adds a Faculty Ombuds

Michelle Mahoney has been appointed to the Faculty Ombuds Office at the public university in Idaho. She joins Manda Hicks and Phil Kelly and will provide informal problem solving and conflict management for all faculty members within the Boise State community.

January 12, 2023

Journal of IOA Article Examines Impact of Ombuds on PhD Student Success

The Journal of the International Ombuds Association has published original research by Paul Herfs, the former Ombuds for Staff and Faculty at Utrecht University. He draws on his experience to answer the question posed by the title of his article: "Can Ombudspersons Prevent PhD Students From Dropping Out?"

State Bar of California Appoints First External Ombuds

Enrique Zuniga has been named the Cal Bar's first Public Trust Liaison. The new Ombuds-like position will will serve as the primary point of contact for external stakeholders with feedback or suggestions, which includes developing public education programs and tools to assist the public with complaints. Communications with the Public Trust Liaison will be generally confidential. Zuniga also will be responsible for making annual reports with recommendations for systemic improvements in the state's attorney discipline system.

January 10, 2023

Job Posting: University of Denver

The private university in Colorado is seeking an Ombuds to restore a program shuttered since the retirement of its founding Ombuds, Jenna Brown, in 2020. The part-time position will serve over 16,000 faculty, staff, and students and report to the Senior Vice Chancellor and chief of staff in the Chancellor’s Office. The revived DU Ombuds office will practice to IOA standards.

South Africa Considering National Student Ombuds Program

South Africa's Department of Higher Education is investigating an Ombuds program for the national university system. A spokesperson said that the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, would be provided with “informed advice about the need for, the viability, terms of reference, and administrative requirements of such an office.” The announcement comes in response to a recent statement by the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet calling for a centralized university student Ombuds. A Department

January 09, 2023

Job Posting: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp

The federal agency that insures American depositors, is hiring Internal Ombudsman Specialist. Based in Washington, DC, the full-time position "provides support in the areas of employee engagement, organizational improvement, change management, and other programs informing or benefitting the FDIC workforce." (The FDIC also has a separate external Ombuds program.) Some travel is required and telework may be allowed. Robert D. Harris is the current Internal Ombudsman for the FDIC.

January 06, 2023

IOA Posts Agenda and Opens Registration for 2023 Conference

Organizational Ombuds will gather in Seattle for the International Ombuds Association 18th Annual Conference on April 3-5, 2023. This the first in-person conference since 2019. IOA cancelled the event in 2020 shortly after the outbreak of COVID and held virtual conferences in 2021 and 2022. The theme considers the role of Ombuds and also hints at the changes in Ombuds practice: "Ombuds as Change Agent? ReEngaging and Transforming Conflict." Registration is now open and now the detailed agenda is available.

January 04, 2023

Job Posting: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The public university in southeastern Tennessee has opened a search for its next Ombudsperson (posted as "Ombudperson"). The position was established by Joanie Sompayrac four years ago as a resource for faculty and administrators. According to the posting, the full-time position has been expanded to serve all faculty and staff. The Ombuds will report to the Chancellor of the University through the Chief of Staff and will practice to IOA standards.

Job Posting: United Nations, Israel

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is seeking a Conflict Resolution Officer to be based in Jerusalem. The position will serve the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and report to the UN Regional Ombudsman Joanna Paul, who was appointed a few months ago.

IOA Seeks Nominations for 2023 Distinguished Emeriti Members

The International Ombuds Association is asking its members to submit names for its annual Distinguished Emeritus Award. The IOA Nominating Committee recognizes a small number of retired Ombuds for their outstanding and dedicated service to the association and to the Ombuds profession more broadly.

January 03, 2023

Cambridge Innovation Center Debuts Ombuds Program

American real estate services company which bills itself as a "community of entrepreneurs," has created an Ombuds program. CIC was founded by Tim Rowe, the son of Mary Rowe, MIT's first Ombuds. MWI, the dispute resolution service and training firm in Boston, was selected to create the program, which will serve employees working across the U.S. and in Rotterdam, Tokyo, and Warsaw. 

Job Re-Posting: Bowdoin College

The private liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine has reopened its search for an inaugural Ombuds. Aside from the salary range, the job description has not changed significantly and there is no indication why the initial search failed. The part-time, year-round position will serve as a resource for its 1,100 faculty and staff. The Ombuds will report to Bowdoin's President and practice to IOA standards.

Emory University's Ombuds Post 2021-22 Report

Lynell Cadray, Emory's University Ombudsperson, and T. Brian Green, the Associate Ombudsperson, report that they had 409 visits with 303 individual visitors—a 5.9% increase in visits compared to the previous academic year. Their annual report also says that the office has had nearly 1,200 sessions with almost 900 individual visitors since opening in January 2020. Data is summarized using the IOA Uniform Reporting Categories. In addition to data about visitors and cases, the Emory Ombuds also report on outcomes. (Emory Ombuds Winter Newsletter.)

Chuck Howard to Address Houston Bar

The professional association for lawyers in the Houston area will host Charles Howard for a one-hour virtual presentation on January 23, 2023. Howard, who is the past Executive Director of IOA and author of A Practical Guide to Organizational Ombuds, will speak on "Comparing Ombuds and Mediation Services." The event is free and appears to be open to the public.